Monday, September 21, 2020

Our Neighbor

On special occasions
he wears his sash and frilly hat
to indicate he is the representative
of a strange and uninhabited country.
He shuffles through the yard
introducing himself
to each and every tree and shrub
with a deep bow and muttered obsequies.
They say he hasn't been the same
since his wife died. There are children
who live in distant cities but never visit.
The rest of the time he can be seen
sitting at the kitchen table in his bathrobe
staring at the calendar, waiting
for the next day circled in red
to arrive.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Variant, 18

 Look in the forest.
Examine the trees.
Question the rabbit
and the skunk.
The answer
is in a thousand places.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Variant, 17

The grass is sheltering in place.
It's secrets all exposed
to the weather. Rabbits, squirrels,
chipmunks pick through it
like seagulls on a trash scow
or relatives at a funeral.
I am happy to die
so I don't have to hear
what people say of me.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Variant, 16

My friends don't want to leave
but I have nothing left to say.
I can hear the moth tapping his wings
against the back door screen
asking to come in.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Variant, 15

House building tip:
flowers and mountains.

Walls are mountains,.
Windows are flowers

always opening and closing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Monday, February 24, 2020

Variant, 13

Let the wind go.
Abandon your dreams.
Tomorrow is already here.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Hints to Strangers

Avoid eye contact.
In fact, avoid all contact
wherever possible.
Beware of charletons and grifters.
Do not give money to strangers.
Clutch your packages
and handbags close to your side.
Don't talk with a foreign accent
to avoid sounding, well, foreign.
But don't forget
to enjoy

your visit
to our fair city.

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 12

Song about the song about the song
of the imperial castle.
Flowers tousled by the wind
as it sneaks through the valley
disguised as a peddler.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 11

Baby's freezing,
it's her first song.
She sings while
the cold radiator keeps time
banging on the hollow pipes
deep within the house.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 10

What is there to commend us
to the grass that sleeps
under the snow? To the trees
hardened to pieces of armor
abandoned on the battlefield?
To the birds hidden within?
What is there we cannot
see? Not know? Or speak of
only in dreams?
Why is the future white
and the past shrouded
in darkness?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 10

I wonder if there is anything to do,
anything left undone.
The  laundry of the soul.
Letters intended but unwritten,
written but unsent. Written
over and over
then abandoned,
crumpled up
and tossed out.
I wonder
what the world
could have been, what life
I might have taken on
if I did not
wear this one
quite so often?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 9

If snow covered the sun.
If the earth glowed
with the light of a thousand stars.
If you could hold the moon in your hand
like a potato freshly dug
from the earth, still smelling
of another world
it came from.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 8

Snow covers the sun.
No clouds, no warmth,
no color. The world
shakes itself
like a dog
in winter.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Variant on Kokin Wakashu, 7 (The Last Fold)

Fold your heart.
Fold it again.
Like two-sided paper:
red on one side, white on the other.
Fold it a third time, a fourth.
Things begin to take shape.
A crane, a mountain,
a boat, a tree covered in snow.
The last fold could explain it all
if you have the skill
or the patience
to pull it off.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Variation on Kokin Wakashu, 6

Ask the snow.
It won't be here forever.
Ask it

how many blossoms
it can see
hiding under its coat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Variation on Kokin Wakashu, 5 (Not Telling)

Snow on the plum blossoms.
Like putting funny hats
on religious statues.
How do I know? Not telling.